The Instigator
ErikMontague
Pro (for)
Winning
10 Points
The Contender
Argon8
Con (against)
Losing
6 Points

In acting, a person cannot truly become another person.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
ErikMontague
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/17/2011 Category: Arts
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,738 times Debate No: 14408
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (4)

 

ErikMontague

Pro

In this debate, if an opponent chooses to accept it, we will be arguing about an idea in the world of acting.

The topic of which we will be discussing is: A person will never truly be able to reflect another character without involving some part of them into the performance.

*Rules of the debate:

1. Round one will consist of introductions, acceptance of the terms, as well as written stance on the issue. Round two will have each person present their argument. Round three will involve the rebuttal of both sides, as well as the "voters," or the listed summary as to why each person should be voted for, for this debate.

2. The debate, for the most part, will be fairly relaxed. I will allot the maximum debate time so that each contender in this debate will have a fair amount of time to respond. Have fun with the debate.

3. Please refrain from any misconduct. Insulting, harassing, or acting inappropriately is not good debating, and hampers the overall meaning of the debate. In addition, I ask that neither person vote in this round. I feel that it should not be up to the people debating, but rather the spectators of the debate, to decide who wins the debate.

*That being said, I am Pro, and I am resolved that in acting, a person cannot truly become another person.

I hope that whoever decides to accept this debate will have fun with this debate, and ultimately learn from it, as I hope I will.
Argon8

Con

I am, myself, an actor. I prefer to think of that as a sign of experience in this area. I would be glad to accept this debate, and I look forward to an interesting argument.

For clarification, I will be arguing for Con. I will be making the point that in acting, a person can truly become another person.

I would like to thank ErikMontague for offering this debate, and I look forward to his (I presume) argument.
Debate Round No. 1
ErikMontague

Pro

Sorry for the late response, and thank you Argon8 for accepting the debate! It will be fun debating a fellow actor on this topic.

So, to repeat the topic in specificity: A person will never truly be able to reflect another character without involving some part of them into the performance.

In layman's terms, it basically discusses the idea that a person can never portray a character without involving themselves into it.

Fortunately enough, I am reading a couple of texts from famous and well-renowned people in the field of acting. First is Charles Waxberg, award-winning playwright, director, and actor who currently teaches in New York Universities. In his book, "The Actor's Script," he talks about the main objectives of the actor, and how they must pull from themselves to unlock the character: "You must bring yourself to the script" (45). Obviously, he talks about the fact that a person must bring themselves to a piece, and reflect their ideas, emotions, and feelings to help them portray the character. To further elaborate on this idea, he continues with: "Ask yourself and try to recall what the greatest pain you ever experienced was, whether it was physical, emotional, or spiritual" (46). To refute future points of the Con, why would Waxberg call upon the actor to look upon themselves (physically, emotionally, or spiritually) if the actor has the ability to do it without having to involve themselves into the character? Even bad actors make some sort of intellectual choice, therefore they involve themselves in some way to the character, whether it be through their choices, or other means.

I will include more references if needed during my rebuttal, but I made the character limit short, as to make it easier on the debaters, as well as the readers.

I will end my first argument with one final thought: If a person cannot pull from themselves to generate a character, then what, pray tell, shall a person derive their ideas from?

I look forward to a great debate!
Argon8

Con

Thank you again, ErikMontague, for offering this debate. I certainly agree that it should be fun to debate a fellow actor.

For clarification: I am arguing the point of con, that a person does have the potential to reflect another character without invoking any part of themselves in the performance.

In layman's terms, A person can portray a character without involving themselves in it.

This takes talent, but, it is indeed possible. Beginning actors usually don't attempt such a thing, and probably will be unable to do so. Thus, when learning, they are instructed to use themselves as a guideline. This is not the only way to act well, but merely the easiest.

The primary aspect is to learn about yourself, and learn about the character. This is especially easy in historical fiction. I cite Gangs of New York as an example of this phenomenon. According to Liam Neeson ("Prince" Vallon), Daniel Day Lewis (Bill "the Butcher" Cutting) was able to not only get completely into the mindset of Bill, but to stay in character from the beginning of filming, to the end. He even referred to Neeson as "Priest" ("The Real Gangs of New York").

I would like to thank ErikMontague again, and I apologize for the slow response.
Debate Round No. 2
ErikMontague

Pro

I would first like to thank Argon8 for giving a response. Great debate thus far!

Second, I'm going to make my final post and argument in a style of cross-reference.

*1. I would like to rebut my opponent's main argument, and actually flip it to support the Pro's side. He uses Daniel Day-Lewis, two time Academy Award winner and well renowned actor. I would like to quote an article as Day-Lewis as the focus: "He was trained in the Stanislavsky technique and is well-known for his exploration of ‘method acting'" (Emily Parker, Wall Street Journal.)

*2. I would like to define the word method acting: "An acting technique introduced by Stanislavsky in which the actor recalls emotions or reactions from his or her own life and uses them to identify with the character being portrayed" (Princeton Dictionary).

*3. As a final point, the definition of method acting shows Stanislavsky, a well-known actor and acting philosopher, as its founder. Here is a direct quote from Stanislavsky: "An actor must discover what his character wants, what is preventing him from getting it, what means he will use to achieve his goal" (Stanislavsky).

*In conclusion, the Con's usage of Day-Lewis actually supports the Pro because it's proven that the method that Day-Lewis uses comes from a man who postulates that an actor must analyze the character intellectually, and use their own emotions from their lives to portray the character, thus involving themselves in the piece.

I challenge my opponent to find one actor in the world that doesn't somehow attach themselves to the character emotionally, intellectually, or spiritually.

The fact of the matter is he can't and won't be able to. If one were able to completely detach themselves from a character, then it would be possible for two different people to give the exact same performance of character, which is downright impossible. They HAVE to be different in some way.

I urge a vote for the Pro, and I thank my opponent for his time! Great debate!
Argon8

Con

First, I thank my opponent for this debate. This will likely be my last opportunity to do so, and he has put up an excellent fight.

Second, I would like to make my final argument in this debate.

Point 1: My opponent's description of the Stanislavsky technique seems to imply support of the Con position. To quote him directly, "the method that Day-Lewis uses comes from a man who postulates that an actor must... use their own emotions" (ErikMontague). By basing his argument upon this method, he is seemingly attempting to draw attention away from the fact that there are other methods, some of which may not require an emotional attachment to the character.

Point 2: "I challenge my opponent to find one actor in the world that doesn't somehow attach themselves to the character emotionally, intellectually, or spiritually.

The fact of the matter is he can't and won't be able to. If one were able to completely detach themselves from a character, then it would be possible for two different people to give the exact same performance of character, which is downright impossible." (ErikMontague)

I do not believe in impossible things. Merely things which are highly unlikely and/or improbable. Also, I would like to bring to light that it is difficult to adequately complete this challenge, because Pro's contention, "A person will never truly be able to reflect another character without involving some part of them into the performance", specifies the time period as not the present, but the future. As I am sure most everyone agrees, no one truly knows what the future holds. I am no exception. It is very well possible, I believe, that someday, an actor will achieve such a feat.

Finally, I ask the voters to make their decisions, and I thank ErikMontague again for a great debate.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by ErikMontague 6 years ago
ErikMontague
Good debate Argon8! Was a pleasure!
Posted by boomeranghugs 6 years ago
boomeranghugs
Hm... this is kind of a tie for me but maybe one of you can sway my decision
Posted by Logician 6 years ago
Logician
"And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you."

I'd agree that no-one has the ability to completely detach himself or herself from the character, but that rather than necessarily retaining their character, their character can be completely transformed - so rigorous would the method acting be. See Heath Ledger in training for the Joker as a tragic example of this.
Posted by ErikMontague 6 years ago
ErikMontague
More specifically? I believe I was pretty specific so I will rephrase it in a different way.

In acting, a person portrays a character. They bring the character to life through how they perform their actions, speech, focus, etc.

I am basically stating that no one has the ability to completely detach himself or herself from the character, ergo the character will have some part of the actor in it.

Hope this clears it up for you!
Posted by FREEDO 6 years ago
FREEDO
Uuum, what is this about, more exactly?
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Cobo 6 years ago
Cobo
ErikMontagueArgon8Tied
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Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
ErikMontagueArgon8Tied
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Vote Placed by Kraubinator 6 years ago
Kraubinator
ErikMontagueArgon8Tied
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Vote Placed by Doulos1202 6 years ago
Doulos1202
ErikMontagueArgon8Tied
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